10 Things that People Living with a Disability Want You to Know

There are many misconceptions about disabilities. Most of the time it is simply due to a lack of information. This can be because the voice of people living with a disability just isn't heard loudly or clearly enough. Also, those who don’t consider themselves as having a disability are so unaware of what it is like living with one. I have compiled this list of 10 Things that People Living with a Disability Want You to Know.

 

  1. Not all disabilities are obvious. We typically associate disability with a wheelchair, sight cane, or other obvious mobility device, but many disabilities are invisible to the public. It is estimated that around 10% of the people in the US have a condition that is considered an invisible disability. Invisible disabilities can include chronic illnesses such as Brain injuries, renal failure, and sleep disorders if those diseases significantly impair normal activities of daily living. These types of disabilities typically include conditions such as Chronic Pain, Fatigue, and Dizziness, as well as Mental Illness.
  2. It isn’t about being more or less able, it’s just different. Many people with a disability have various talents that others do not. One person noted that their Dyslexia, an invisible disability, made academic pursuits difficult, but they had abilities that those without dyslexia did not.
  3. This emblem controls your destiny. The handicap accessible emblem is like a beacon to those with a disability that impairs mobility. “Oh, your building isn’t accessible? I guess I can’t go in there!” 
  4. People talk to you like you’re a baby. “It has been YEARS since I was a baby, I’m an adult, treat me like one” said one individual.
  5. Look and talk to me, not my interpreter or caregiver. Please address me in conversation and give me your attention. My caregiver is simply there to help me if and when I need it.
  6. Ask me about myself or my kids. Just because I or my kids have a disability, doesn’t mean that we as parents don’t love talking about them just as much as everyone else!  Their progress is a big deal to us and we like to share our excitement!
  7. Just because my child doesn’t speak, doesn’t mean he cannot understand you. Ask them how they are doing. If they are verbal, they may respond, or they may use a communication device or some other way to answer you. And please don’t talk about them as if they weren’t there.
  8. We need friends too. Having a disability or a child with a disability can be isolating. We go through many of the same life struggles that anyone else goes through. Love, Loss, finances, and more. We have more in common than you think.
  9. Do not touch us or our assistive devices without permission. This also includes service animals. Do not grab my wheelchair to “help me” without asking. It’s the same as dragging or pushing another person. It is rude.
  10. I am not just a person with a disability, I am a person. I have the Same hopes, dreams, and goals as anyone else. I still desire respect, and I am intelligent. I even have a great sense of humor.